Welcome, welcome to another week of the Saving Throw. Today, we have two more hall of fame submissions for your reading enjoyment. The featured story today, from Darkniciad, may well be the funniest story thus far submitted. While it is long, I highly recommend you give it a read, for it is very entertaining. Thus, for not only submitting a funny story, but also an excellent one, I hereby give Darkniciad the unprecented double golden caret!
The other submission is from DiceyBot, #savingthrow's peculiar little dice-rolling bot. It's an interesting story, if quite nonsensical. Beware of potential mind asplosions with this one.
Today's column also features some news on the darker side for anyone wondering about the future of tabletop roleplaying, though like with Pandora's box, there remains a ray of hope for the future.
At any rate, it's time to move on with the column!
Gaming Tip of the Week
"Beware of Kenders wielding powerful magical artifacts."
A Kender acquires a powerful magical artifact. He figures out how to use said artifact. Yes, indeed, the world was in grave danger, and great evils were almost loosed upon the land. Catastrophe was narrowly averted, though.
Comics and Games Retailer, a magazine covering the hobby gaming industry, released its annual report on the state of the industry. As the editor of this magazine described 2005 as an "extinction-level event," it is safe to say that this report indicated that the industry was in a very poor state. gmskarka has kindly provided some quotes from the article, which indicate that trading card games were down eleven percent from 2004. The worst news of all was for tabletop RPGs, though, which reportedly fell an astounding 45 percent in sales from 2004.
The report paints a fairly bleak picture for the future. Hobby gaming stores are closing, merging, or expanding their product base outside hobby gaming at a high rate, indicating that there are fewer retailers specializing in this market. The report indicates that nearly a quarter of role-playing publishers closed shop during the last year with many of these being d20 system publishers. The article stated that "the d20 glut is behind us," but indicates that not enough new products are available to recover those lost sales.
Even the two largest players in the tabletop gaming market are suffering losses in sales. Wizards of the Coast'sDungeons and Dragons sales are reportedly down 35 percent from 2004, and White Wolf Publishing'sWorld of Darkness sales are reportedly down an incredible 61 percent. This increases the large share of the market held by Wizards of the Coast to 53 percent, while White Wolf manages to cling to 19 percent. All other publishers held less than five percent of the market according to the report.
The one bright spot in the report is that web-based distribution is doing well. The report indicates that consumers are going to the web to find tabletop RPGs, either in print or PDF form. Those companies dealing in PDF have reported solid sales, indicating this may be where the future of the tabletop RPG market lies.
Wizards of the Coast has announced their plans to launch the My Little Pony Role Playing Game in August 2006, creating the first roleplaying game to be targeted to girls age three to seven. It will reportedly use the d20 Modern Roleplaying Game, with rules for creating custom-designed ponies with a wide selection of pony colors, hair styles, accessories including "cutie marks," and powers including "rainbow flight" and "find-and-seek." The launch of this game will coincidence with the 24th anniverisary of the My Little Pony brand.
This announcement was made on April 1, with a second related press release made the following day.
And so it ends. . .
Okay, okay. The DiceyBot submission was indeed a late April Fool's Day prank; DiceyBot doesn't have the ability to generate random stories like that. Also, be sure to send something in for next week. This is your chance to try to earn golden carets or even get your own double golden caret. Besides, the readers need something other than my ramblings to read.
Again, let me know if you're interesting in gamemastering or roleplaying in #savingthrow, along with a short description in what you're interested in doing. Hopefully, we'll be able to get this going soon, but so far, nothing is planned.